Synthesis of gold nanoparticles using the interface of an emulsion droplet

A facile and rapid method for synthesising single crystal gold spherical or platelet (non-spherical) particles is reported. The reaction takes place at the interface of two immiscible liquids where the reducing agent decamethylferrocene (DmFc) was initially added to hexane, and gold chloride (AuCl4-) to an aqueous phase. The reaction is spontaneous at room temperature, leading to the creation of Au nanoparticles, (AuNP). A flow focusing microfluidic chip was used to create emulsion droplets allowing the same reaction take place within a series of microreactors. The technique allows the number of droplets, their diameter and even the concentration of reactants in both phases to be controlled. The size and shape of the AuNP is dependent upon the concentration of the reactants and the size of the droplets. By tuning the reaction parameters the synthesised nanoparticles vary from nanometre to micron sized spheres or platelets. The surfactant used to stabilise the emulsion was also shown to influence the particle shape. Finally, the addition of other nanoparticles within the droplet allows for core@shell particles to be readily formed, and we believe this could be a versatile platform for the large scale production of core@shell particles.